SYDNEY, N.S. – For the first period of its 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge semifinal Friday against the United States, Quebec looked like it might keep pace with the mighty Americans, holding an advantage in shots on goal and trailing just 2-0, one of them an unlucky bounce.
But the final 40 minutes were all U.S., as the Americans cruised to a 9-1 victory to advance to Saturday’s gold medal game; it’s the sixth time in the last eight U17 tournaments that the U.S. will play in the final.
Colin White continued his torrid scoring pace, racking up another four points with two goals and two assists. That gives the tournament scoring leader 16 points in five games, including four consecutive games with at least three points.
Matthew Tkachuk added two goals and an assist for the U.S., and Nicholas Boka scored twice. Overall, 14 different players recorded at least one point as the Americans continued to spread around the scoring.
Pascal Aquin (Repentigny, Que/Collège Esther-Blondin, LHMAAAQ) had the lone goal for Quebec, which will play in the bronze medal game for the second year in a row. It lost to the Americans in last year’s third-place game.
Even though the Americans controlled play in the first period, they trailed Quebec 10-7 in shots on goal.
But they led where it counted most; Boka scored twice in the opening 20 minutes, his second a ricochet off a stanchion on a dump-in that fooled Quebec goaltender Olivier Tremblay (Saguenay, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ) and proved to be the game-winner.
White added to his point total when he scored 9:25 into the second period, although Aquin got that one back just minutes later when he was left alone in the slot and buried a rebound of a shot from Anthony Beauvillier (Sorel, Que/Shawinigan, LHJMQ).
The U.S. started to pull away after Aquin’s goal, with markers from Tkachuk and Auston Matthews coming 63 seconds apart for a 5-1 advantage after 40 minutes.
Matthews’ goal spelled the end for Tremblay, who gave up five goals on 23 shots and was replaced by Callum Booth (Montreal, Que/Québec, LHJMQ).
The third period was yet another all-American one. White, Tkachuk, Michael Floodstrand and Jack Roslovic all found the back of the net in the final frame as the U.S. applied constant pressure and outshot Quebec 20-3.
Final shots on goal were 46-20 in favour of the United States.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)